Long Distance Caregiving
If you’re faced with the challenges of providing assistance or caring from a distance, you’re not alone.
If the person living with dementia lives in another city or region, you can still provide meaningful support.
Tips for providing long-distance care:
- Stay in contact frequently. Make weekly phone calls, send email or mail to your family member. Whenever possible, include photos and other items that your family member may enjoy seeing.
- Establish a routine with your family member.
- Make occasional visits if possible. This will provide you with the opportunity to reconnect and give you some time to do activities together. In addition, you can evaluate how they are doing and determine if needs have changed.
- Research and identify the types of services and availability in the person’s local area. With the consent of your family member, arrange some services to assist them.
- Ask others for help. Neighbours, friends and community organizations for seniors can be fantastic resources and offer companionship for your family member.
- If other family members are nearby, discuss providing support to each other and potentially sharing the caregiving activities.
- When visiting your family member, make appointments with their doctor and lawyer in order to assist in any decision-making.
- Keep a current file with your family member's personal information and anything else you consider important in your role as a long-distance caregiver (E.g., list of medications, health card number, insurance information, copies of legal documents, activities of daily living, personal care, record of the person's normal daily schedule).
- If legal documents have not been created yet, you may want to consider helping them get these in place. This would include an Enduring Power of Attorney, a will and a Personal Directive. For more information, visit the Office of the Public Guardian website.
- Learn as much as you can about your family member's life story and about their dementia.
- If the person with dementia is at risk of getting disoriented, confused or wandering, the Safely Home® program is available through the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
- Take a workshop on dementia care strategies to increase your learning about care strategies and make the most of your moments together.
Moving or relocating a person with dementia to the Calgary area
If a family member with dementia is moving to Calgary from outside of Alberta, they can apply for Alberta Health Care coverage once they are here.
- See and print the application form here. https://www.alberta.ca/ahcip-apply.aspx
Note: There is a three-month waiting period after the application has been filed.
Once the person receives an Alberta Health Care card, they can access an entire range of community support services.
An important first point of contact is Alberta Health Services Home Care who will complete an initial assessment to determine what kinds of services might be most helpful and necessary. Recommendations may include community resources, supportive housing options, adult day programs and support for family caregivers.
- For more information call (403) 943-1920 or click here to learn more
Things to consider before moving or relocating a family member with dementia are:
- Their needs for independence and familiarity with friends
- Your past relationship with the person with dementia
- Your needs and your family's needs
- Lifestyle differences
- The home environment — space, privacy, safety
- Availability of proper health care
- Availability of publicly funded community resources
- Your emotional, physical and financial capacity to deal with the person's care needs
- Cost of private care (if available or accessible) from the publicly funded system
- The impact on your employment situation
- The length of time you expect the arrangement to last
- The effect of an out-of-province or out-of-country move on eligibility for health care and other services
- The opportunity for respite relief for you and your family (can family members, friends or neighbours provide relief for you?)
- Relocation for a caregiver may also be a possibility if:
- Community services are not currently available or accessible for the person with dementia
- The physician recommends it
- The person needs 24-hour care or supervision
- The person can no longer live safely at home
For more help and information, please contact us.